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Bio-MEG partners target Asia’s vast industries

UPM is investing €750 million to build the world’s first industry scale biorefinery in Germany.

18th August 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  South Korea & Germany


Dongsung Chemical, headquartered in South Korea is forming a strategic partnership with Germany’s UPM Biochemicals, to develop renewable products using bio-based raw materials, initially for footwear materials.

Dongsung aims to develop a renewable polyurethane product based on UPM BioPura, the biobased mono-ethylene glycol (MEG), made by UPM Biochemicals.

UPM is investing €750 million to build the world’s first industry scale biorefinery at Leuna in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, to convert sustainably sourced, certified woody biomass into next generation biochemicals, including Bio-MEG.

The Leuna facility aims to produce 220,000 tons of biochemicals annually, with start-up scheduled for the end 2023.

UPM and Dongsung will actively cooperate in the development of eco-friendly products using Bio-MEG, targeting the Asian market and its vast textile and footwear industries.

Dongsung plans to diversify its portfolio by advancing eco-friendly product lines, integrating UPM’s Bio-MEG into its production. The aim is to apply it first to footwear materials and then expand to automotive interior materials and adhesives.

UPM’s Bio-MEG is produced from sustainably sourced, certified hardwood obtained from forests in the regions around Leuna in Germany. The biomass does not compete with food resources and has a carbon reduction effect of a minimum of 70% compared to fossil fuel-based MEG. UPM is actively working on further optimising processes to enable the carbon neutrality or even negativity of the product.

“Through the partnership with UPM, we are able to access a stable supply of next generation bio-materials and apply them to our major products,” said Dongsung CEO ManWoo Lee.

“We are delighted to partner with Dongsung Chemical as it pursues its strategy to replace petrochemical-based raw materials with bio-based raw alternatives and reduce the carbon footprint of its products,” added Michael Duetsch, UPM’s vice president of biochemical operations. “UPM is building a world beyond fossil fuels and we will work with our partners at Dongsung to deliver outstanding solutions for their customers, who are also eager to reduce their carbon footprint.”

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